Here's a look at my favourite timelapse camera gear, from camera to lens to tripod and memory card.
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My favourite timelapse gear
Timelapse camera. At the time of writing (January 2021) my favourite camera is the Lumix S1 full frame mirrorless camera. It features great built in timelapse features which you can also find in the Lumix S5. Check out my review of the Lumix S1 here and check out the price for it here.
Timelapse lens. A timelapse lens is a lens that you can use for a wide range of shots. I know most people prefer to use primes because they are generally better performing pieces of glass, however, the reality is that most of the time you want to keep your kit as small and lightweight as possible. For that reason, I like to use zoom lenses like the Lumix 24-105 f4 lens.
Timelapse astro lens. The lens I mentioned above is good for most of your timelapse subjects, however, when you're venturing out into the night to capture long exposures of the sky, you want something faster. Faster meaning: you can use faster shutter speeds to capture the same amount of light (it took me a while to figure that out). On my Utah astro trip, I rented the Sigma 35mm f1.4 ART lens. The 35mm focal length brings you just a little bit closer to the galactic core yet is still wide enough for most landscape shots. Check out the price of the Sigma 35mm ART lens here.
Timelapse remote. The vast majority of timelapse remotes (also known as intervalometers) are designed completely wrong. To trigger a photo they send out two signals to the camera, the first is an AutoFocus signal the second is a trigger signal. This AutoFocus signal slows the camera's operations down. Even if you've disabled your AF, this focus signal will still decrease the time between photos where you can check your photos and adjust your settings. There is only one timelapse remote that I stand behind 100%, because it was designed and made by the developer of legendary timelapse software LRTimelapse. Made by and for timelapse photographers specifically, the LRTimelapse Pro Timer 3 is the only timelapse remote you'll need. Check out my review here and check out the price of it here.
Timelapse tripod. You want a tripod that is light enough to travel with, high enough to shoot over fences and stable enough to still be solid in the wind. I see too many people out and about with crappy little tripods, and I just know that they get frustrated to bits when using it. Save up a little bit more money and get yourself a tripod that is solid and will last a lifetime. I've been using the Manfrotto 190Go! carbon fibre tripod for the last 5 years and it is still as good as when I bought it. Check it out here.
Timelapse memory card. When looking at memory cards most people look at the write speed but totally neglect the read speed. When you're offloading thousands of RAW files from your card to your hard drive you will be glad to have a fast read speed as well, trust me. The SanDisk 256GB Extreme Pro is the SD card I use for most of my shoots, check it out here.
Timelapse motion control. Motion control devices add a whole new level of production quality. It sets your footage apart from other shooters and opens up a whole new world of opportunities. I've been using Syrp motion control gear for the last few years. Check out their kit here.
Timelapse educational content. The Ultimate Timelapse Guide is an e-book I wrote about planning, shooting and editing world class timelapse sequences. If you want to take a short cut to a decade worth of knowledge you absolutely must check it out. I have also written an e-book about how to make money from your passion, which features chapters about selling stock footage, how to grow on social media, and so much more.
Now for a list of all the other camera gear I own. I admit this has gotten totally out of hand and needs a proper culling.
I own quite a few cameras, from action cameras to point and shoots to DSLR's. Every camera has it's own use but these are the ones I use on almost every timelapse shoot.
Canon 1DXMkII – An absolute beast of a camera. Big, heavy and bulky but oh so powerful. It is currently still Canon's flagship model and although it could go with an upgrade by now (the next model will most probably arrive for the Olympics in 2020) it's still my favourite all around camera to shoot stills and video with.
Canon 6DMkII – I own two of these. They are Canon's entry level full frame DSLR. That's right, entry level! In my opinion, these cameras are great timelapse tools. The full frame sensor is great in low light, the battery lasts forever, the touch flip screen helps enormously when framing up your shot, it's got decent weather sealing (check out the performance on that weather sealing in this production blog where I had to shoot in sideways rain)
GoPro Hero 7 – For behind the scenes timelapses and quick and dirty hyperlapses. The size of the GoPro has always been a main selling point. Paired with endless mounting options and – since the Hero 7 version – an amazing stabilisation algorithm this camera is a no brainer for the timelapse camera bag.
Glass.. Always a hard choice between price, aperture, image stabilisation, size, weight, weather sealing etc etc. Below are my go to barrels.
Lumix 24-105 f4 – A great all round lens that gives you both a wide angle and a tele shot in one piece of kit. This lens features great image stabilisation as well, which comes in handy when shooting hyperlapse sequences.
Canon 16-35 f4 L – The wide angle. This lens has a 77mm filter thread, which is the same as almost all of my other lenses. This means I can use the same filters on all of them. It is very affordable, light weight, has great optical performance, has built in Image Stabilisation and is tack sharp. It has a slight amount of barrel distortion but that can be fixed easily in post.
Canon 24-70 f4 L – My favourite all round lens, ever. Also features the convenient 77mm filter thread. Has great Image Stabilisation, a great focal range and comes with a built in Macro mode. The f4 still delivers decent enough bokeh (not that that should be relevant for timelapse photography but we all want to shoot the odd photo and video don't we?) and is incredibly affordable. This is hands down the best bang for buck piece of glass you can get. I have owned 3 of these and have put them through hell and back, they are phenomenal lenses.
Canon 70-200 f2.8 L MkII – One of Canon's sharpest zoom lenses on the market. I still rock the MkII as opposed to the MkIII because I don't have a reason to upgrade. This lens is great for photo, video and timelapse. The built in stabiliser allows you to shoot handheld video at longer focal lengths and has beautiful bokeh in case you want it. The 77mm filter thread size means you can use the same filters as for your other lenses and the weather sealing is top notch. It's a tad heavy and big but oh so worth it, trust me.
Canon x2 Extender – Slap this between the above lens and your camera body and voila, you've got yourself a 140-400mm lens. It drops your maximum aperture and slows down the AF a bit but it's a great small piece of kit to extend your focal length with minimum sharpness reduction.
There are so many photography filters on the market these days it's a bit hard to choose! Recently I've been gifted a range of filters by the team at Polar Pro. I enjoy their products and have found minimal colour cast. When buying make sure to select the right model and filter thread for your lens.
Polar Pro 77mm Circular Polariser – This circular polariser is my daily driver.
Polar Pro 77mm 10 stop ND filter – For when it's bright as hell outside and you want to drag your shutter. This 10 stop (ND1000) filter blocks out an enormous amount of light with minimal colour cast. I also have the 5 stop model of this filter.
Timelapse motion control devices are not a necessity but they sure do add a lot of value to your timelapse production. It's easy to go over the top with these tools so I always advise the ‘less is more' approach when it comes to setting up moves.
Syrp Genie II 3-axis kit – Paired with the carbon fibre rail linked below this is currently my favourite device that allows you to create 3 axis moves (pan, tilt, slide). Check out my review of this Syrp motion control kit here.
Syrp Magic Carpet slider – This light weight carbon fibre rail is small when packed down and incredibly sturdy when set up. Yes, these toys are pricey, but they're pricey for a reason!
Syrp Genie mini Pan/Tilt kit – This kit gets an honourable mention for how convenient it is to carry around. I haven't used it extensively yet and am still working on a review of this gear but it seems like a very affordable and portable option for 2-axis timelapse moves.
All this kit needs legs to stand on. Below are my trusty tripods. I've used all three of them for years on end, with barely any issues. Yes, the odd spring or button goes missing but the convenience of the mounting plate and the build quality of the legs paired with the weight of the carbon fibre is a great combo.
Manfrotto 190Go! – This 4 stage carbon fibre tripod has served me well for years, all over the globe. The leg lock system is a joy to use and has lasted me much longer than I expected it to.
Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Fibre – This extremely small and light weight tripod is one of my favourite tools. It barely weighs anything and actually fits inside a lot of camera bags. It comes with a handy carry bag and the ballhead can carry more weight than advertised, although don't blame me if yours fails. I've used it with my 1DXMkII and a 70-200. As long as you balance it right under the centre of mass of your setup you'll be fine. Disclaimer: the model I linked is the new version, I'm still using the older one. I'm assuming the new one is as good.
Manfrotto tabletop and micro ballhead – Combine these two products for an extremely small, lightweight and low setup that can carry a ton of weight. Carries the biggest setups and fits in any camera bag.
Full disclosure: I am an ambassador for F-stop. That being said, years ago I emailed them asking if I could review one of their bags because I thought they made the best product on the market. They ignored my email. Can you imagine how much fun it was when they hit me up years later asking to represent their brand?
F-Stop Ajna – I use this bag paired with the Large Pro ICU (listed below). It's the best camera bag I've ever used and I recommend it to every single person that ever asks about it.
F-Stop Pro Large ICU – This is the Internal Camera Unit. You put it in the camera bag or pack it in your checking luggage or use it however you want. I really like the build quality and the fact that you can swap out different ICU's in different bags.
F-Stop Dyota – This is a day to day backpack that has a camera gear compartment at the bottom half that you can access from the sides. It also features a laptop compartment that fits 15 inch laptops and has a weather resistant outside. The top bit rolls out and you'd be very surprised at how much gear you can fit in here!
There are a few other items that I use on a regular basis that don't fit in the above categories so they get their own category. How good.
Lexar 128gb SDXC memory cards – These cards are reliable and fast. Don't buy cheap cards, they're likely fake and can corrupt your photos.
Canon TC80-N3 – This is quite an expensive remote (also known as an intervalometer) but does the trick rain, hail or shine. I own 4 of these and they've never failed me.
Hahnel Captur Timer Pro – This is a wireless remote, make sure to get the right model for your camera!
Lens skirt – This is a must have if you're ever shooting through glass balconies or windows. It blocks reflections and allows you to shoot otherwise impossible footage. It's lightweight and folds down and I never leave the house without it.
Zeiss lens cleaning kit – This is a nice little kit that should be in any camera bag.
Samsung T5 SSD – This solid state drive is super fast, small and sturdy. Can't go without it.
That'll be it for now, I'll keep adding things to this list as time goes on!
Check out which timelapse software I use below:
If you'd like to learn how to plan, shoot and process timelapses like a pro then check out my new e-book. It's a 33 page guide that teaches you everything you need to know.
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